Posted by: Kathy Temean | March 12, 2020

Book Giveaway: Winged Wonders: Solving the Monarch Migration by Mystery by Meeg Pincus

Meeg Pincuus has written a new picture book titled, WINGED WONDERS: Solving the Monarch Migration Mystery, Illustrated by Yas Imamura and published by Sleeping Bear Press. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is to leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know the other things you do to share the good news, so I can put in the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter, reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. Thanks for helping Meeg and Yas!

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!

BOOK DESCRIPTION:

For decades, as the monarch butterflies swooped through every year like clockwork, people from Canada to the United States to Mexico wondered, “Where do they go?” In 1976 the world learned the answer: after migrating thousands of miles, the monarchs roost by the millions in an oyamel grove in Central Mexico’s mountains. But who solved this mystery? Was it the scientist or the American adventurer? The citizen scientists or the teacher or his students? Winged Wonders shows that the mystery could only be solved when they all worked as a team–and reminds readers that there’s another monarch mystery today, one that we all must work together to solve.

The journey of this book about a journey is—like all journeys—one of twists and turns, stops and starts, before arriving at a destination. While Winged Wonders is my second trade picture book to be released, it was actually the first one I had an offer on—though it was a quite different book then!

This book had victory, disappointment, many months of silence, and a rethinking before becoming what it is today. So, I hope this story of its journey inspires someone out there to keep on keeping on—just like the people in this story and, I suppose, like me in continuing to believe there was a story here that I had to tell.

BOOK JOURNEY:

Phase One: Inspiration for a Different Story

Several years ago, I took my kids to an IMAX film at the amazing domed theater in San Diego’s science museum. I’ve always loved butterflies, wrote about them often in my younger days, and was simply enchanted by this film. It told the story of the scientist/researcher couple who tracked the monarch migration for several decades, finally discovering their winter roosting place in the mountains of central Mexico. It was a beautiful and inspiring film; I went back to watch it two more times.

I found myself wanting to know more about this couple, and also other people who helped during those decades to track this miraculous migration. I ended up writing a whimsical picture book biography manuscript about one of the people on the team. The book’s current editor, Sarah Rockett at Sleeping Bear Press, gave me my first trade picture book offer for the story. There was much celebration in my house, including a shiny butterfly balloon and sparkling cider. However…the journey wasn’t going to be that simple.

Phase Two: A Roadblock

Before I signed the contract, I tried one more time (after many previous attempts) to get in touch with the person the story was about. That’s when things got sticky. It turned out that person was hard to find because, after giving interviews for a time, they had then not wanted any more media focus on them, at all—quite adamantly. It also turned out (which I had read something about in the adult nonfiction book Four Wings and a Prayer by Sue Halpern) that there’s a lot of controversy in the monarch science world. People arguing over credit and information-sharing. So, I had a tough choice to make.

My editor, Sarah, let me decide if I still wanted to go forward with the contract. Legally, we could. But, personally, I just couldn’t bring myself to publish a book about someone who really did not want to be focused on (and potentially walk into controversy while doing so). So, with much sadness, I chose not to sign the contract, while my butterfly balloon still floated in the corner of my living room.

Phase Three: Time and Rebirth

Luckily for me, Sarah had faith and encouraged me to try a different angle on the story. I was so disappointed for a time that I just put it in a drawer and didn’t think about it. But, in the back of my mind I heard Sarah telling me there might still be something there.

Many months passed. I wrote other stories. I happily signed a contract with Sarah for Miep and the Most Famous Diary. And the monarch manuscript sat in a drawer. But then, one day, I started thinking about the grappling for credit among the monarch scientists. “Really, they all contributed, they all had a part,” I thought to myself. The point of my PB bio had been to highlight a person on the team who had received little credit.

But, I realized then, I actually had another story to tell—one of how it takes many people, rarely just one, to make a scientific “discovery.” By the way, I always put “discovery” in quotes to acknowledge the native central Mexicans who knew for generations where the monarchs roosted—a perspective important to my telling of the story as well.

Suddenly, the biography in the drawer faded from my consciousness and I started writing a new story. A group story. A nuanced story. A mystery with many sleuths and clues to be followed and pondered. My new story was very close to the text in the book now. It just flowed out after all those months of silent simmering.

Phase Four: A Beautifully Illustrated Book

Thankfully, Sarah loved the new version and it made it through acquisitions again. She signed the amazing Yas Imamura to illustrate, vibrantly bringing the story to life. Editing went very smoothly, with our only hitch being the title, which we just couldn’t land on. Then, someone on the Sleeping Bear team pulled the phrase “winged wonders” out of my text and we all agreed that it worked “wonder-fully.”

I’m so much happier with this story than the original version—perhaps because it was harder won, but also because it’s a fresh message I am excited to share with kids. I want to inspire them to wonder at the amazing monarch migration—and ponder all the people whose large and small actions preserved and will preserve the monarchs—including the kids themselves. Plus, it’s good to see how long that journey took, so they remember to keep pursuing their own curiosity and passions, as long as needed.

MEEG PINCUS BIO:

Meeg Pincus is a children’s author, humane educator, and speaker who loves celebrating and telling stories about real “solutionaries” who help people, animals, and the planet. She is a lifelong writer and has been a newspaper reporter, book editor, and essayist–but writing children’s books is her favorite.

I have a lifelong passion for nonfiction books. Reading them, writing them, editing them. I’ve been writing & editing nonfiction in some form or another for over 20 years—and I still love it. (Learn more about my writing/editing background—and my much longer, full name—here.)

I’m also passionate about education & making our world a kinder, healthier place. This led me to the field of humane education: teaching people to be “solutionaries”—problem-solvers who help people, animals & the planet.

Nowadays I write “Solutionary Stories” for elementary-age children—nonfiction & informational books that inspire kids to make a difference.

I’m a former newspaper journalist & scholar-in-training (four years of graduate school in cultural studies/communication—focusing on race/class/gender—at UW-Madison & UC-San Diego). So I have a background in, and love for, research that means I dive deep & attempt to be incredibly accurate in every topic I write about.

And I’m grateful to have a diverse family (with a mix of religions, races, sexual orientations, gender identities, and abilities), so I’ve always incorporated diversity of many kinds into my writing. For me, part of being a solutionary is focusing first on compassion for all beings, and giving voice to those who are marginalized.

I’m active in SCBWI (San Diego chapter) and have participated in the Highlights Foundation Nonfiction Master Class, nonfiction workshops with the Writing Barn, 12×12, and more, to always keep improving my craft. I’m also the co-founder of 19PBbios, a promo group of 19 diverse picture book biographies releasing in 2019 from diverse creators.

And I have a great agent, Jenna Pocius of Red Fox Literary.

YAS IMAMURA’S BIO:

Yas Imamura is an Asian American illustrator who has done work for clients like Anthropologie, Sanrio and Papyrus. She also owns a greeting card shop called Quill & Fox which has been a delightful pursuit of infusing humor and fun quips into her drawings.

As a child, Yas has always been fond of doodling, and much to the dismay of her parents, on surfaces she shouldn’t-like the treasured pages of children’s books. Much of her work now draw inspiration from those same books she enjoyed as a kid, her art evolving into an amalgamation of both the timeless and modern. Her preferred materials are gouache and watercolor and often finds herself drawn to projects that are playful and a little offbeat.

Yas lives with her husband Andrew and their dog Lisa in Portland, Oregon— a perpetually rainy place that necessitates a multitude of her indoor hobbies.

Yas Imamura is represented by Arabella Stein — to work with Yas please email Arabella.

Thank you Meeg for sharing your book and its’ journey with us. I have a copy of this book and it is very special. I love monarch butterflies and make a point to plant bushes and flowers in my garden to atrract them, so I loved reading about them. I am sure this story told with Yas wonderful illustrations will be a big hit with other butterfly lovers and will probably encourage more parents and their children to become winged wonder lovers. 

Talk tomorrow,

Kathy


Responses

  1. I am really interested in getting a look at this book. Congrats Meeg & Yas, it looks delightful.
    (I shared on FB & Twitter)

    Like

  2. We love butterflies! We’d love this book.

    Like

    • I have maintained a Monarch Waystation for eight years in my small yard in a small city. The more we can do for these gorgeous butterflies, the better. Books like Meeg’s help to raise awareness of our fragile creatures! Look on Twitter @shelemur and you will see the words “Monarch mom” in my profile.

      Like

  3. Oh my goodness I cannot wait to get this to my class! 😊

    Like

    • Btw, I subscribed!

      Like

  4. With the last name of Wing I’d love this book!

    Like

  5. Really wonderful to see this topic being covered! Their migration is a wonder.

    Like

  6. We have Monarch butterflies that migrate through our area every year. How great to see a book about them, thanks for the chance to win it!
    I’ve tweeted a link to this post: https://twitter.com/carlrscott/status/1238152494779224064, and pinned an image on Pinterest with a link as well: https://www.pinterest.com.mx/pin/336573772154236798/.
    I also follow your blog daily by email: crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com.
    Thanks again, have a great day!!

    Like

  7. Your book looks and sounds beautiful! I’m especially intrigued because I am at this moment illustrating a picture book about butterflies. Can’t wait to see your book!

    Like

  8. I didn’t realize that monarch butterflies were such a contested subject! Very fascinating! Can’t wait to read this book. Congratulations!

    I will share on Twitter. I follow you blog by email as well, Kathy. Thanks for sharing great books.

    Like

  9. I love your story and can’t wait to read it. I am very partial to butterflies!

    Like

  10. This one looks amazing! Meed writes excellent nonfiction

    Like

  11. What unique and beautiful story! I am really looking forward to reading Winged Wonders (great title!)
    I am a follower of this wonderful blog)

    Like

  12. I’m so impressed that you found a way (and the will) to rework your book after withdrawing the first version. I hope Winged Wonders reaches many readers. (Kathy, I subscribe to your blog.)

    Like

  13. I’m so glad you found a way to tell the story, Meeg. I’m looking forward to reading your wonder-filled book! BTW, the San Francisco Public Library has 8 copies on order. Yay!

    Like

  14. This looks like such a beautiful book! We love having butterflies in our backyard and plant many flowers that butterflies, bees, and hummingbirds love so we can see them.

    Like

  15. What a wonderful book and illustrations! Thank you, Meeg, for sharing your book’s journey.

    Kathy, shared to facebook and Twitter, plus I follow your fantastic blog.

    Like

  16. Thanks for sharing the behind the scenes challenges, that you overcame, with this book. My class would love a book about butterflies. I remember the year the migration passed through our school, it was fascinating 🙂! Will RT.

    Like

  17. This was so touching. Thank you for sharing your book’s story. Congrats.

    Like

  18. I can’t wait to read this book (I’ve also written about monarch migration for an educational publisher)…and the back story plus your perseverance are inspiring! Kathy, I follow your blog.

    Like

  19. So glad you were persistent & refocused the story to show how each member of the group was important to the “discovery”. I look forward to reading this story soon.

    Like

  20. This is such a fascinating subject…it looks like a WONderful book 😀 Congrats, Meeg and Yas!

    Like

  21. Sounds like a wonderful book! I’d love to be entered in the giveaway. I posted to Facebook as well. Thanks!

    Like

  22. This book is amazing! I’m glad I found your site with it. I can’t wait to get a copy. I have loved Monarch butterflies since I raised them for my 2nd grade class 13 years ago.
    I will share this book far and wide!
    (I tweeted and facebooked about it!)

    Like

  23. This really looks like a beautiful book. Thanks for telling me about it.

    Like

  24. Thank you all so much for your comments, and thank you, Kathy, for inviting me to your blog! Today is the book’s release day so it’s officially fluttering into this wild world. ❤

    Like

  25. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful picture book.

    Like

  26. What a gorgeous book! I love Meeg’s book Miep and the Most Famous Diary: The Woman Who Rescued Anne Frank’s Diary and can’t wait to read Winged Wonders! I’ve been teaching my students about butterflies and migration and would love to add this to my library. 🙂

    Like


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